For what it's worth, we have 6 kiddos and early in 2010, bought a 30' TT, quad bunk with no slide, sleeps 10, etc. We pull it with a 1-ton, chevy express 12 psngr van. We bought the TT used and already had the van. WE LOVE IT!!!! The kiddos get very excited to see it parked in front of the house a day or so before we leave - call it their "trailer beds".
Vacationing with a large family is very expensive, but we have found that we can go on about 2 or 3 trips with the TT for every 1 we went on without it (depends on the trip of course). We've used it many times, and our longest trip to date, was to Disney - 2400 mi round trip! With no slide-out, it can get a bit cramped, but for us, you do what you have to do, and it's so worth it for us.
We looked around for about 6 months before we found one - craigslist of all places. Had to drive a couple hours out of town, but we knew enough and had looked at enough to know we were getting a great deal on a TT that was kept in immaculate condition, etc.
God Bless you and your family and I hope you find what you're looking for.
This is an excellent point. I too have a bunch of kids, well.., two are grown now but a total of seven of us all together. I have an Armada that I pull a Jayco bunk house model with. See profile pic.
You already may have an excellent TV with your Excursion, it'll fit the whole family. Just add a TT and your boat, well that boat does exhibit a little bit of a problem. Curious, what kind of boat do you have and does it need a trailer? In other words, will it fit inverted up on top of the Ex? I've seen it, if so, there is your solution. If it wont, well.., someone already said you may have to make some sacrafices. Taking two vehicles just seems so impractical.
Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know much, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.
We have a 3/4 ton burb, dual buckets, and take the rear seat out of it We are a family of 4 with a large lab. I would advise getting a 3/4 burb or 3/4 van, true 4 bunk 30ft plus tt, and store the boat at a slip. Not sure what boat can handle your ever growing brood. You will need at least 2 vehicles to go camping!
2008 Starcraft Travelstar Sport 21RBH
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First of all, WELCOME to the Open Road Forums here at RV.net!!! And Congratulation on the beautiful family. I hope, by now, #5 has arrived on the scene and all is well. Please give us an update!!!
If your $15k budget is a firm number, then considering your current vehicles, a nice trailer is the way to go.
In my opinion, what you want to do IS possible BUT NOT within your current budget constraints and tow vehicle offerings. The rig you posted could work, although it won't tow either of your current vehicles without exceeding the chassis limits. ANY rig you look at, I'd strongly recommend that you BEFORE YOU BUY, bring it to the scales and have it weighed. There have been several instances where RVs are manufactured and leave the factory near, at or exceeding a chassis weight limit parameter. You don't want one of these. With the size of your family, you need a vehicle which has a lot of available weight carrying capacity.
We bought our first RV (the class A gas motorhome in our signature) back in 2004. (We did more then 2 years of research before our purchase, so take your time.) We were a family with 4 children. It has dual slides, two sofas, dinette and has seat belts for 12 passengers. After all of these years, we have yet to find a floorplan that would suit our needs better. (Well, I did find one 45' diesel pusher that I liked...but that is NO WAY possible for us. ) However, it's would not be able to tow either of your current vehicles without exceeding the chassis ratings. However, we tow our 2001 Honda Odyssey seats 7 (weighs about 4,500 lbs.) and with that and our rig fully loaded, we flirt with the 26,000 lb. GCWR while being 500 lbs. under the 22,000 lb. GVWR. You could possibly trade one of your current vehicles for an Odyssey UP TO 2004 model year. (After 2004, Honda no longer sanctions flat towing of the Odysseys, although there are people who do flat tow them.)
I believe Georgie Boy made our floorplan in 2003 & 2004 and "limited editions" in 2005. Even so, I'm guessing you'd be lucky to find one under $30k. GBM also had a Pursuit model (maybe 3475?) that was a dual sofa, though it was a bit shorter and slightly lower line. Even so, the $15k limit will be tough to meet unless you look for an older rig, but then you're unlikely to find one with slides.
Just a couple of general comments, if I may. Seatbelts are important and few rigs offered them in sufficient quantity for our family from the factory. You can add them later yourself, if necessary, though, so I wouldn't let that be a deal breaker.
I'm not a fan of most "bunk model" class A's as the bunks are right near the "adult bed". Which means if we choose to watch an adult-themed movie (or have some "adult time"), they would be able to hear everything. We prefer having all of the kids at the front of the rig. Put on the AC blowers & turn on their TV, and they hear nothing. Setting up the sofas & dinette for sleep mode is not a huge problem for us. We opted for dedicated living space rather than dedicated sleeping space of the bunks. Different strokes for different folks.
We have had instances where we've been kept indoors due to the weather (we camped through Hurricane Irene in CT last year) and we were fine.
With youngsters, you need a rig that can store the "baby support" materials: stroller (we needed our double stroller), play-pen, and a bunch of other things. Storage space is at a premium. An example: With 7 people in your clan, you'll probably have at least 2 pair, if not 3 pair, of shoes for each person. (sneakers, sandals, beach-shoes). That's a lot of shoes. Again, where we have a dedicated closet, the bunk models have their bunks. We prefer the closet.
Lastly, you can remodel the interior of any rig to suit your needs if you're handy with some basic tools. The important thing is to start with a solid, well maintained rig which shows NO SIGNS of water damage. Any signs of long-term water damage, walk away.
All that said, I'll add that in my opinion there is no better way to travel with your family than in a motorhome. As others have said, in a trailer, the vacation begins when you get to your destination. In a motorhome the vacation begins when you leave the driveway. With young children, it's such a convenience to have water/food/potty with you every where you go.
Good Luck and God Bless. I hope you can realize your dreams.
* This post was
edited 12/29/12 10:46am by Rick Jay *
2005 Georgie Boy 3625 DS on a Workhorse W-22 (Class A)
Rick, Gail, 1 girl (19-Angel, Lexi96.org), 1 girl (14), 2 boys (15 & 12).
2001 Honda Odyssey, Demco Aluminator tow bar & tow plate, SMI Silent Partner brake controller.
Great post Rick. I especially like the TV and A/C blower on trick
2011 Tiffin Allegro 35QBA (Mack); 2007 Subaru WRX wagon (Lightning - toad); 2006 Subaru Outback 2.5XT (Sally).
Any opinions are my own and not my employer's.
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X2 with check out dealers & RV shows. You might check out toyhaulers as well some are shorter.
Bigger than what you are looking for (35 feet fiver) our Puma Toyhauler has five queen size beds, with a seperate toyroom (two of the beds are in the toyroom one over the front of the toyroom) New under 30K... used who knows.......
Wow I have never stayed in a campground that I have felt unsafe, animals four legged ones could be an issue but still......... Thought you were asking about RVs.....
We have 4 kids. We are crammed in a 6x15 all-aluminum VRV toyhauler! But, we'd been all 6 of us in a tent, so we have more room than before.
I think it would help you to take your family to an RV show. There seem to be a lot in January, so you're right at the time. This is what we did and it helped a lot to see what was out there and walk through it all w/ the kids present. The first show was overwhelming, then we went the next year and it all "made sense" better. One thing I suggest you consider is a "hybrid" which is a hard-sided trailer that has a couple drop-down "tent beds". This adds lots of bed space w/o adding lots of weight / trailer size, but you still have bathroom, etc.
For a different angle:
If you only vacation a couple times a year, have you considered renting cabins at the various state parks, etc??? This is what we did in the winder when we wouldn't tent.
Personally, I've found that many of the "camping cabins" (no plumbing) WON'T take 6+ people. But MANY state parks have "full service" cabins that have kitchens & baths, larger capacity, for under $200 a night, sometimes closer to $100.
On rare occasions I've come across cabins at State Forests, and Lakes/Dams operated by the Corp of Engineers; also sometimes local county parks. This might be an option for you to try during your search time anyways; that way your kids can be in a campground setting and see what it's all about.
I've often read on here about being stuck in an RV w/ bunch of kids during rain. We've been lucky, rain's always been transient w/ at least some breaks. We just go into "town" and do movie, museum, store. Or we drive to a picnic shelter at the park and play cards/games under there; that way they can still move around too. As kids get older, you can hike w/ rain jackets on, the tree canopy often provides a good bit of cover.
Thanks everyone for the advice! My youngest, the first boy, was born a week and a half ago!
We are still interested, but will not be making the purchase soon. We are building a larger house this year and will be putting our money to work there instead of recreational activities. Maybe in a few years I'll be back asking again!
regarding cabins, the ones around me are always booked and not too well accomodated. We've looked but gone no further. We have a house rented at table rock lake this year and will be doing the Miami trip but the rest will be day trips with the boat, unless I get a wild hair and sell the boat.
When our family reached six kids, age 2-15, we bought a 16-foot (would be a 20 footer today) travel trailer with overhead bunks and pipe bunks, and pulled it from Detroit to western Montana behind a station wagon. Brought along grandma and grandpa, to carry and sleep a total of 10 people (a couple of the teens would sleep in the back of the wagon, sometimes). It looked cheap inside, because it was made to sell at a price families could afford in the '50s.
All the little kids slept together on a double-bed sized gaucho, under the pipe bunks. When they got grumpy because they were bored, the big kids helped with them. If grumpy because tired, they got put to bed.
Normally, everybody went to bed at the same time.
When the family grew (but a couple already off to university) the travel trailer got replaced by a 12-foot pop-up camper, which had a lot more sleeping space, with no sacrifice of living area. My three youngest sisters tell me they loved camping in that.
It was then considered camping, a different lifestyle than living at home, or moving to a house-sized vacation home (something else we did from time to time, and our family still does). If you are hoping to make a RV into a vacation home experience, rather than a camping experience, for a large family it is going have to be a large RV.
I don't think you will find the vacation home combination of space and privacy (adults vs children) in any type of class A in your price range. Most semi-modern A's were configured for long-term comfort of a couple, with separate living and sleeping areas, living area convertible to a second sleeping area. If the adults are going to have the bedroom, the kids will be in the living area, so you won't be using it late.
I think you might be able to find the space you need in an expandable travel trailer (kids bunk on one end, adults and living area on the other). Your budget might not be able to cover new, but that can be pretty close. Even then, you need to be willing to put all the children in bed together, or at least double up, because to provide separate beds you will have to convert all your living area to sleeping area.
For Spring Break, I recommend San Antonio, or Texas Hill Country. San Marcos works well for family fun with small children. These places are a lot closer than Florida or southern California. Beaches, to the extent you find them, will be more like sandbars and riverbanks. The Gulf Coast (Texas, or Mississippi-Alabama) is also an option, so long as you are happy sharing the beach with college students.
But seeing "renting a house is too expensive" as the reason for getting a RV, makes me wonder if you understand the cost of RV ownership. A RV can be more like a costly luxury, than a money-saving way to vacation, once you dig into the financial details.
Especially for a motorized RV, between insurance, licensing costs, taxes, maintenance of house and chassis, storage costs, depreciation, and loss of earnings on the money tied up in the thing (which you are never going to get back) your costs could run one to three thousand dollars a year (even more for a newer one) while you are not even using it. In some respects, it can be worse than owning a big expensive boat you don't use much.
Operating costs will be about 50 cents a mile to move it, while you are using it. For many trips, I simply leave the RV home and drive my car, or fly, and rent housing at the destination, because it is less expensive than moving the RV to where I am going.
Unless you approach RVing in a low-budget way (like using an old pop-up camper or cheap old trailer) it is not necessarily a money saving way to vacation. It will also be more like camping, not like staying in a rental house or condo.
Our friends have a similar situation: 4 kids, RV, need to tow a racing trailer. For the last 5 years, the husband drives the extended cab pickup with the 5th wheel and a few kids. The wife drives a lighter duty pickup with a kid or two and the race hauler. They were interested in a MH, which could pull the trailer. However, they haven't found one that can comfortably sleep them and the kids (who aren't so little anymore).
I hope you have better luck than they are in finding a solution. Congratulations on your new little one!! Wishing you much joy.
To the original poster...if you are still interested.
Having 5 kids roaming around freely inside a motorhome un-belted is not really a responsible or safe practice.
I'm not aware of any coaches that are equipped with that many seat belts.
We have 7 seat belts in our 27 foot class C. However we only have room to sleep 6 people. And only room for 4 at the table. We do not have anchor points for car seats and would need to remove the table to accommodate a car seat.
When we were shopping for out C, we saw one custom one that had 2 dinettes, no sofa or other seating. It had been designed for a large family, so there was room for them all to eat at once. I did not count the seat belts in that unit as it was not what we wanted.
OP does need to keep in mind that his kids will be getting bigger and in 4 years the 8 year old will be close to adult size. Also if they plan to have more kids, they will have to take that into consideration.
Lastly OP, do you have camping experience? Do both you and your wife like to camp? If one of you does not enjoy camping you may want to rethink investing in an RV.
OK one more point, in 4 years your 8 year old will be old enough to watch the younger kids when you stay in a hotel, so you are not trapped in the room after bedtime. How many weeks at a rental house can you pay for over the next 4 years with $15,000.00?
We loved to tent camp before we bought the RV. Being stuck at the campground once the kids went to bed was never an issue for us. Now the kids are older and this coming season ds will start to drive the RV. We still enjoy hanging around the camp fire, but the kids (now teens) join us.